This is a rather detailed description as I imagine that I may be the first person you know to have done this...
Here I am Friday late afternoon, big as a house, labor pains have begun but are sporadic. At noon, we went in to see the midwife and she stripped my membranes and I immediately dialated to 4 and began to have contractions here and there.
By 8 o'clock labor began in earnest, Kristin came to stay, and she called Lorri (our second attending midwife). It progressed nicely, building in intensity through the night until about 4 am. During that time I was able to take walks, eat & drink if I wanted, I spent a lot of time on all fours on my yoga mat doing cat/cow (that felt good), I got in the birthing tub (that felt really good), sometimes I would squat - swaying back and forth and breathing. The midwifes are very supportive of any odd whim that you might have as a coping method, plus you're at your house so you don't feel inhibited either. Mom & Staci got here at about 1:30 am or so, we had snacks and they settled into bed, as did Eric for a nap!
At four in the morning, I felt like I had made a lot of progress, but things were holding steady and stalling. Kristin suggested she check me and if we wanted to we could break my water. I was dilated between 7 & 8 and we decided to go ahead... after I took a rest.
Did you know you can turn down labor and take a nap? Kristin said that if she broke my water it would likely get very intense, very quickly and we could be down to the nitty gritty in a short amount of time. She asked me to lay down and take a nap and then in an hour or so we would get up and decide if we would proceed with popping the amniotic sac. I actually fell asleep in between contractions, which slowed considerably, and it felt as though I was sleeping for a real long time. I woke up at 5:30 am and we decided to go for it. Kristin woke Eric, Bitty heard us and woke up, everyone had a snack and some fresh coffee. (I snacked, but no coffee). At 6:00 or so, she broke my water.
Lindy Jean was born at 7:50 a.m. Within five to ten minutes of rupture of the waters, labor went from manageable to "OH MY GOOD LORD, what the hell is going on?" I spent a bit in the tub, with Eric keeping me focused and breathing. Then I felt like I needed to go to bathroom, when I got there I literally fell off the toilet onto all fours on the bathroom floor where I got slammed by transition. This stage feels like you're on drugs, it's wild. I moo-ed like a cow and tried to breath, waiting for the breaks. Suddenly, my body was pushing.
Lorri and Kristin suggested I get in the tub for this part, I protested, but then relented. Good thing, too! In retrospect, pushing in the warm water has to be the easiest way to do it. This part was also very vivid & powerful, but it felt good and I knew that the baby would be here sooner than later. At this point I wanted nothing to do with Eric and was relying on Kristin. She was a rock (I suppose that is why she does this). This part of labor is crazy, your body just does what it is supposed too and you have to try and keep up with it. The midwives were having me resist pushing. As I had such a nasty episiotomy from the first go round (& scar tissue is brittle) and they knew the baby was a big one, they were trying to keep me from tearing. It was really hard work to fight the urge the bear down, push with my contractions, and send that baby flying out of there. :) The only time I pushed was after her head and shoulders showed and I had to pushed to get her barrel chest out!
She came and I knew the baby was a little girl. I hollered something to the effect. At this point everyone came barreling down the stairs. Bitty, in her most surprised voice and matching expression exclaimed, "there's a baby in the bathtub, my baby!" The midwives leave the baby in the water, still connected to the cord, until it stops pulsing. Then I birthed the placenta, got out of the tub, and layed down on my bed for some stitching. My scar tissue had "blown out" (Lorri's description) and they painstakingly stitched it back together. Which was very unpleasant, but as Kristin said "I have a vagina and I like mine to work properly and so will you, hold still please!," while I am cussing at her. :)
I must tell you, this was a fabulous experience. The midwives arrive and don't leave your side through the whole ordeal. You are in the comfort of your own home. They don't strap you to any machines and make you do things you don't want to, they always ask if they can examine you or listen to baby. No one tells you, you HAVE to do this or that (if there were an emergency I imagine orders would be issued in short order and you would be expected to comply, but this was a normal, healthy birth). It is woman's touch, ladies who, themselves, have birthed children and have attended hundreds of births. I will NEVER, EVER, EVER go to an OB/GYN ever again. Eric thinks that every husband should consider this option. We will, likely, have more children and we will have them at home. I really feel it's the only way to do things. Kristin and Lorri are really competent, very caring and I feel incredibly grateful to them and Eric for believing in me and supporting me.
Hooray! Here she is, all 9 lbs, 11 oz and 21.5 inches of our gorgeous little meatball - LindyJean. I am so in love with her, as is Eric and Bitty.
Our family feels more complete and we are so very proud, thankful, & joyful. Our home is truly blessed.